If It Ain't Grilled... Walk Away | ThoughtLab

If It Ain't Grilled... Walk Away

by Paul Kiernan January 25, 2018
Inside the Lab

“I gut check my show. I say, I say “Gut, gut does that feel true to you?” And gut says, “Yes it does, Stephen. Let’s get a grilled cheese.” - Stephen Colbert

Recently I watched a video on the Delish website. It’s a food site, recipes, fun ideas and the like. I’ve gone there before, read articles, watched videos and it’s been informative and fun. However, with this most recent video I was incensed, so much so that I was compelled to send them the following letter;

To whom it may concern,

And I truly hope it does concern someone because let’s face it, a grilled cheese sammich is not to be ignored. I believe, and you can correct me here if you wish, that the grilled cheese sammich has the most potential to be aggressive and hostile so, messing with one is ill-advised.

I like your page and have often stumbled across your videos and found ideas and inspiration for foods to be cooked and shared or created and hoarded by my lonesome on some, I hate the world, being single is fine, I don’t need anyone but this incredible pile of fried pickles, kind of night. The foods you present are inventive and sometimes I truly think, wow, I never thought of doing that with prefabricated dough and a bucket of chicken thighs. Then again, I’ve never thought of doing certain things with a Slip N Slide and a drunk llama so, maybe I’m not as inventive as I once believed. Who knows and frankly, who cares. Where was I? Ah yes…

The Giant Grilled Cheese

Now, I have just watched this video, the creation of a monstrous grilled cheese sammich, please note that I do and will continue to use the colloquial “sammich” because it’s folksy and fun. Also, I cannot actually spell sandwich. Now, although I was in awe of the sheer size of said sammich, and I was very pleased with the use of the oft-overlooked bundt pan. I recall being in a bit of a jam in Tangier with a few ex-French Foreign Legion boys and a semi-recumbent waffle. Our lives would have been over had it not been for a fortuitous bundt pan and the word spatula. More on that later but, probably not. Suffice to say, I have a soft spot for a bundt pan. So both the size of the sammich and the employment of the bundt pan made this a very fine video in my mind and then, it hit me. There was something very, very wrong with this particular culinary experience.

Our good friend Merriam-Webster, whom I look to for all things word related, gives this definition for the word grill;

Grill (v)
1; to cook (something) using a grill.
2; informal Subject (someone) to intense questioning or interrogation.

Now, we can all agree that at no point during this giant grilled cheese video, did we see someone, maybe dressed in black, with a pencil thin mustache, screaming at the cheese and bread and innocent bundt pan for an elongated period of time until the cheese melted and oozed. No, no one interrogated the sammich. That did not happen. Do you know what else didn’t happen? I’ll tell you. The sammich was in no way, shape, form or manner … gilled. That’s right, this giant grilled cheese sammich was actually a giant BAKED cheese sammich. In fact, there are two instances in the video where the instructions to BAKE are flashed on the screen. At no point do we see a grill, hear a grill nor are we ever instructed to place the sammich on a grill. There is a clever use of bacon, the world’s most mollifying food, to draw our attention away from the fact that the sammich is in fact, never grilled but, I didn’t fall for that. No sir. I have done my time in the trenches with bacon, I know it’s ways and I have seen first hand how it can seduce a man away from the truth so, I was immune to its bacony goodness and charms. Too bad for you.
This is clearly a baked cheese sammich which, I believe in the Paris Accord of 1753, was deemed inferior and, at times, in direct political opposition to an actual grilled cheese sammich. Now, I assume that you people are not trying to start some kind of culinary junta but still, a place as reputable as yours, with years of food experience, to make such an egregious error in terms and action filled me with a sadness I have only felt when watching thirteen Russian plays back to back. This may seem minuscule to some but I say nay to that. Nay. If we let this pass, this sham of baking and trying to pass it off as grilling, what’s next? A Turducken with squab? A Beef Wellington with some lesser known general or even, dare I say, a colonel? Boneless Chicken Wings that aren’t truly boneless but simply afflicted with osteoporosis? I dare say it’s a slippery slope when a culinary company tries to pass off a baked cheese sammich as a grilled cheese sammich. I shudder to think.

I can only ask, nay, plead with you to be more careful in the future. Understand that we look to you to know what to do with pizza rolls and easy cheez. We turn to you in the times of desperation like when 26 hookers have broken down in a bus in front of your house and all you have is half a bottle of cooking sherry and the ingredients for Chile en nogada but you only have the grasp of rudimentary Spanish. We look to you.

I truly hope something is done to rectify this terrible situation.

The letter needed to be written because the grilled cheese is sacred. The grilled cheese is childhood, comfort, snow days off of school. The grilled cheese should not be messed with. Now according to Serious Eats and their article; “The Art of the Perfect Grilled Cheese” there are a few “musts” that define a grilled cheese
It must be a closed sandwich
It must have cheese (not cheez) as the primary ingredient
And
A GRILLED CHEESE MUST NEVER BE BAKED OR DEEP FRIED.


The recipe on the site is one of the best and if you’re looking for the superior grilled cheese, I suggest you follow it. Also, there are some good ideas for add-ins. I, myself, am a purist but, if you need to add stuff to your grilled cheese, there are some good ideas there. If you’re out and about and you’re thinking, "mmmm….grilled cheese" here are five places in and around Salt lake that I think make a darn good grilled cheese.

Melty Way

Utah homegrown, uses local products. They have a menu that lists “amazing melts” that showcases everything from chicken and avocado to short ribs but, for the purists the four cheese classic is a superb grilled cheese sandwich.

Cafe Zupas

Another born in Utah joint. Plenty of salads and soups going on here but their Ultimate Grilled Cheese is worth experiencing. Ciabatta bread, panini style grill, two kinds of cheese but it’s the house-made pesto spread that brings this sexy little cheese maven home.

Crown Burgers

First opened downtown ion 1978, sure the burgers are a smash hit, but, treat yourself to one of their mouthwatering, delightful grilled cheese sandwiches. This little surprise just absorbs the grill flavor and fills you with cheesy joy.

Burger Bar

This joint showed up on that Guy Fieri show, you know the guy whose restaurant just got laughed out of Times Square in NYC. Anyway, he nailed it with this place. They have this incredible, greasy grilled cheese that is worth a TV show.

In-N-Out Burger

Not Utah born but welcomed here with open arms and watering mouths. The thing about this place is they have a very well known “secret” menu. Google it or ask a millennial. The grilled cheese is on that menu. This sandwich should be secret no more.

There you go, try one of these places and have your mind changed about grilled cheese. As of writing this, I have not heard back from Delish, which saddens me. But that won’t stop me from seeking, cooking, enjoying and defending the most classic of American sandwiches.

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